Push press is an underrated full body movement that can add some serious strength and overall core stability to your overhead movements. Whether you are Olympic lifting, bro lifting, Crossfitting or otherwise, we’re going to give you 4 proven push press benefits and a how-to guide so you can add them into your training routine.
What Is Push Press
The push press is a prerequisite to the Military Press aka the Strict Press. The push press uses the full body to move weight from the shoulder to overhead movement in a quick, effective motion. The push press uses the legs, core, and upper body which ends up driving the weight into the overhead position. While the push press movement does require the legs to bend, the completion of the movement has straight legs, straight arms, and the weight will be overhead in a full lockout position.
Muscles Worked By The Push Press
The push press movement is great for building overall strength because it uses so many different muscles in the body. Of those muscles, the quads, shoulders, glutes, and core muscles are called on the most for strength and stability from the start, motion, finish, and re-rack of the movement.
Push Press Muscle Recruitment:
- Anterior Deltoid
- Upper Back
- Lower back
4 Proven Benefits Of Push Press
While we can all use more overhead strength and power, the push press is an effective compound movement for recruiting the whole body, prime movers and others. In order to reap max benefits, it is ideal to perform the push press with quick and explosive, intentional movement.
1. Push Press Improves Weightlifting Technique
The push press and military press movement is a foundational training tool for building optimal strength and weightlifting performance. The movements that can benefit the most from practicing and incorporating push press into your training are push jerks, clean and jerks, snatches, and split jerks. It can also build more confidence under the bar before getting into more advanced Olympic weightlifting movements.
2. Push Press Improves Overhead Stability
Overhead stability isn’t just important for being in the gym, but its also a functional movement that we use in daily life, like picking up our kids or putting a box up on the top shelf in the garage. When we’re able to lift weight overhead we call upon our shoulders and core stability to brace the back and torso, preventing ourselves from injury. By using the push press to develop overhead stability and strength, we can also advance into more complicated movements like Olympic Lifts (clean and jerks, snatches, etc.).
3. Push Press Builds The Hip Drive
Hip drive is an important skill to have when performing big lifts as an OLY lifter or Crossfitter. It’s also important to strengthen and build the hip drive to support explosive activities like box jumps and sprints. Hip drive strength is also a crucial component for athletes in the pool, on the field, or on the court, too. So while push press might seem like a motion limited to barbell athletes, it can really benefit any athlete to improve force, power, and the ability to perform well under fatigue.
4. Push Press Builds Maximal Power
The difference between a barbell press/military press/strict press and the push press is that there is an additional dip. It isn’t a strict overhead movement. With that additional dip, an athlete or individual can build more strength, muscle, and develop maximal power for the hip drive movement.
How To Push Press
These directions are going to be for push press with a barbell, but can translate directly into using other weights such as dumbbells and kettlebells.
- Grab an empty barbell and clean it up into a front rack position. Your feet should be under your shoulders or slightly outside of them, bracing your core, and with your elbows up, facing forward
- Your hands should be relaxed on the bar allowing for maximal flexion of the wrists and elbows
- With your weight in the mid foot (not toes or heels), take a deep breath dip the hips, knee drive out to activate the glutes (not forward) into a quarter squat position and a tall chest (elbows SHOULD NOT come down)
- As you reach the bottom of your dip, explode upwards and push your body into the barbell generating force, extending from the bottom up (ankles, knees, hips) straight upward. As the force of your body pushes up against the barbell, extend the arms, moving your head out of the way, so that the barbell can fully ascend
- Complete the movement with your full body lockout with the barbell directly overhead and the eyes facing forward. Make sure to have a strong core so that the barbell is not behind, nor in front, of the body
- Bringing the barbell down in the same motion pattern, catch the bar in the quarter squat position with your elbows up, face forward, and weight over mid foot.
Push Press: Takeaway
All in all, the push press is an underrated technique and movement that can add incredible strength, size, and explosiveness to your training and athletic ability. Whether you're looking to get stronger, break an OLY record, slam dunk the ball, or chase your kids around a little faster, the push press and push press variations should be incorporated into your workout routine.
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